Medellín is still to a degree associated with the notoriety it earned in the 1980s and 1990s when it seemed to deign to be the Chicago of Colombia. A glitzy but dangerous gangster metropolis ruled by the ruthless drug lord Pablo Escobar, head of the Medellín cartel. Medellín started afresh on 2 December 1993 when Escobar was pursued and shot dead atop the city’s roofs on his 43rd birthday.
From thereon and going forwards, Medellín has done much to shake off its reputation. Medellín’s people, the Paisas are enterprising, courteous and astute business people with a great deal of ambition. To a degree Medellín’s rapid development over the last 20 years can be attributed to the motivation of its people.
Medellín for example is the only Colombian city with a metro system, having two lines running through the town, the metro system also extends up to the hillsides into poorer neighbourhoods by means of an interconnecting cable car system.
In 2013, Medellín beat off stiff competition from Tel Aviv and New York to be recognised by Citibank, The Wall Street Journal and The Urban Land Institute as the world’s most innovative city.
The city is home to many of Colombia’s major events and festivals, for example the annual fashion show Colombiamoda where Colombia’s national fashion industry shows off its finest skills in order to woo international buyers. Colombia has a very well respected textiles industry and Medellín is its centre.
Add to this one of the country’s most spectacular festivals, the Feria de las Flores, the centrepiece of Paisa culture since 1957. The festival boasts many performances and parades, the highlight being the Parada de los silleteros. For several days Medellín immerses itself in colourful and riotous fun where the local firewater Aguardiente Antioqueño flows freely.
We can organise your trip for you to witness Medellín’s boldest statement of extravagance and joy. Pueblito Paisa is dedicated to celebrating Paisa culture and can be included in our city tours of Medellín. The area around Medellín is also steeped in Paisa culture, villages such as Santa Fé de Antioquia still have wonderfully preserved colonial architecture and beautiful features. Nearby there is also the country’s longest suspension bridge which crosses the Río Cauca.
The town of Guatapé boasts El Peñón, a towering monolith which can be scaled via steps built into the rock, from the top you can see a phenomenal landscape if interwoven lakes. You can also visit a small farmers’ village where they make the noted cows’ hide shoulder bags called carrieles. Also consider a trip to Jardín, arguably Colombia’s most colourful and happy town. We will happily organise your visit to any of these sites according to your wishes.
We can organise your tour including flights into one of Medellín’s two airports, transfers, accommodation and all excursions.
Like many Latin American cities, the centre is less pleasant than some of the newer neighbourhoods. Whilst Plaza Botero is a must-see site, you should exercise caution if you are planning on visiting in the after dark. For this reason we will normally arrange your accommodation in the an upscale neighbourhood such as Laureles. Nearby Poblado and its Parque Lleras is the heart of Medellín nightlife more representative of the modern Medellín.
To start your trip, we offer a guided tour of the Plaza Botero, Pueblito Paisa and the Museo de Antioquia. Experience the transformation of Medellín with a visit to Comuna 13 and Santo Domingo.
If you want to see the real Medellín then a ride on the cable car to see the view over the city is included in all of our city tours.
There are also various excursions we can include in your programme, for example a visit to Santa Fé de Antioquia, the former capital of the department of Antioquia. In Santa Fé we can also offer an overnight stay in one of the many colonial hotels.
Visit the magnificent Puente de Occidente which spans the Río Cauca. Or perhaps visit some of the small-hold farmers around Medellín. For spectacular views and landscapes we can include Guatapé and El Peñol to see the interlocking lakes. Adventure sport aficionados should consider visiting Río Claro.
Medellín is perhaps best known for its incredible nightlife. It is a large cosmopolitan city and the opportunities there are virtually infinite.
Adding Medellín to your itinerary is simple. There are direct flights from Bucaramanga, Bogotá, the coffee zone, Cartagena and Santa Marta. It is also easy to add it in to one of our round trips such as The Colours of Colombia.
Medellín is also your launchpad for nature reserves on the Pacific coast such as Nuquí and Bahia Solano.